Monday, April 8, 2013

The Australian Christian Lobby today backed a push to oppose the reintroduction of legislation legalising brothels in Western Australia.

“Legalising brothels is a failed experiment and we know there is a link between legal brothels and human trafficking,” said Wendy Francis, ACL spokesperson on Prostitution and Human Trafficking.

“There is a disproportionate number of overseas and overseas-born women in prostitution and many have limited English skills which should send alarm bells to society.

“The 2010 The Sex Industry in Western Australia report showed that about half of prostituted men and women in Perth were not born in Australia and almost one in five rated their skills as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’.

“Increasingly we’re hearing stories of women being trafficked to Australia from south-east Asia and sold for sex. Only last year 18 men in South Korea were arrested for pimping women to Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

Mrs Francis welcomed comments from Member for Southern River Peter Abetz for the government to send a delegation to Sweden to investigate the Nordic approach when it comes to prostitution reform which criminalises the purchase of sex and tackles the demand from ‘Johns’.

“ACL has made many submissions state and territory parliaments in Australia advocating this approach, but the best thing would be for Western Australian MPs to visit Sweden and see for themselves how it’s impacted society and the number of women being trafficked to the country.

Christian leaders raised the Nordic model with the Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition leader Mark McGowan at a pre-election forum attended by 800 people in February.

Mr Barnett encouraged MPs to use their travel entitlement to investigate the Nordic approach.

'The Government should send a delegation to Nordic and other countries which have adopted this successful policy approach to a difficult issue,' Ms Francis said.

“If Australia is really concerned about equality between men and women then prostitution reform is one area where we can encourage a healthy view of womanhood where they’re not viewed as objects available on demand for men’s pleasure,” she said.